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Rajya Sabha disrupted over WTO statements

Posted on Aug 11 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Aug 11 : The Rajya Sabha was disrupted Monday as opposition members said the statements of Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the 2013 WTO meeting were different.

The issue was raised by opposition members as soon as the house met, forcing a brief adjournment.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the stand that India took at the 2013 Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, was appreciated across the world on the issue of food security and stocking food for that.

Sitaram Yechury of the CPI-M said there were contradictions in the statements by the prime minister and the commerce minister.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley denied it and said: "There is no difference in what commerce minister has said and what the PM has said."

He added that the government is ready to discuss the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting and the question hour should not be disrupted for that.

However, as the members continued to create a ruckus, Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Hamid Ansari adjourned the house till noon.

The issue was again raised by Congress MPs later who objected to Modi's remark that the previous UPA government had "sacrificed the interest of the common people" by signing the last Bali WTO summit.

"An impression has been created by the BJP-led government that it was India's principled position to protect its right to food security which forced India to take a tough stance," Congress leader and former commerce minister Anand Sharma said.

"The charges against us has to be clarified. It misleads the country," he said.

Responding to this, Sitharaman again said there was no difference in the statements given by her in parliament and what Modi said.

"Prime minister's comments are very much in the background that has been discussed," she said.

The house later resumed normal business, taking up a discussion on working of the home ministry.

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